Hello my little belly buttons and welcome to the Better Each Day podcast with me, Bruce Hilliard, the best looking face you’ll ever hear. This is the podcast where musicians talk about their music and backstories. But due to the influx of comments and suggestions for more tales with tunes and not so many interviews with top notch celebrity rock stars, here’s a story about the 60s and 70s dance scene in small town America, Aberdeen and Hoquiam Washington.
But this could be anywhere there are boys, girls and rock’n’roll. It started with lame school dances, followed by the necktie ones where the girl asks the boy and without warning she does something weird with her hair and you’re forced to have your picture taken with them.
There I was, in the prime of my teenage hormonal train wreck, checking out the girls' bums…I was known in medical circles as the gluteus to their maximus. Now, this coming from a dude that was too shy to ask anyone to dance. I used to go to these events solely to see the band.
We all were heading into those formative teenage years and joining the rest of the teenage “cloud”...teenage cloud, the place where knowledge and pertinent information is stored, in the teenage brain. The brain, according to modern science, through magnetic resonance imaging, has determined that it won't be fully functional until the little zit factories are 25. So, it turns out that most people get married before their brains are fully developed…makes sense.
According to what I’ve read, after the dramatic growth spurts of your childhood and teenage years, by the age of 25 your brain has hit peak performance.
So there you are, surrounded by hundreds of young girls with 86 billion neurons telling you “let us dance like children of the night.” The brain uses over 20% of a human’s caloric intake per day. That part we had covered with the calories of about a half triple cheeseburger. Not a challenge for a teen.
For some reason, at that age it’s not only okay among peers to be socially awkward but drunk and or stoned was not uncommon at parties or dances. In fact worthy of weird respect.
One of my formal tolo “girls ask boy” dates was Bumajean Scleavage, she put the “ugh” in ugly. She was so ugly she had, and this was something we said in high school, marks on her body from people touching her with ten foot poles. She was so ugly her mother had to breastfeed her through straw.
Bumajean and I dropped a party before the dance, well a quick get together at one of her buddy’s up in Bel Air aka snob hill. We weren’t there for more than 20 minutes when we headed across town in my mom’s yellow submarine mobile to the dance.
In true fashion, we never danced but not because of me. She spewed in my mom’s car. On the floor, down the door inside and down the window, and of course all over her.
It appeared to be a vintage Boones Farm or Annie Green Springs fortified wine. Her formal doo was smashed up, her masquara was bordering racoon. Once I got used to the smell I asked her “Well, Buma. Should we get our picture taken now?
I found this paragraph on a website called Pacific Northwest Bands. It says:
I was about 16. I had just played at the Harborena with my high school band. I was driving my girlfriend's Mustang and I backed into the brown Ford LTD Hoquiam Police car parked in front.
Being young and dumb and I think somewhat high, I drove away at a brisk rate, thinking no one had witnessed it. I was arrested in Aberdeen about 15 minutes later (Duh!) and spent one of many nights in a juvenile hall.
My dad was thrilled, as was my girlfriend’s dad. I had to work off the community damages to the dented door…$225. I acquired a new nickname that I can’t mention here. I was banished from the Harborena.
Signed Maitland Ward, March 2006
But the real happening scene for the 21 and older group and holders of fake I.D, The Rocker. The Rocker was anything but sophisticated. They served beer. They may have had wine or something else to cause stupidity but beer, small, medium, large and super-sized kegs were the main exports.
The Rocker wasn’t only the place to go on the Harbor but whenever a featured name band played another local venue, say the 7th Street Theater in Hoquiam, The Rocker was the place to go after the show. That was the case when my band opened with Heart and Lee Michaels. Hell, we played 2 shows with Ramones actually at the Rocker. They were a CBGB band from Queens New York and are cited as being the first true punk rock band.
Forty years after Heart played in our little town, I happened to have the TV on when I saw the surviving members of Led Zeppelin sitting with Barack and Michelle Obama in the good seats. There were Ann and Nancy performing this one at the Kennedy Center Honors.
That was 2012. Way back when Dream Boat Annie was just climbing the charts my band Amberain aka the Rockles were opening for Heart. During the sound check I overheard the Wilson sisters talking about who would carry the torch after Led Zeppelin was gone. It sounded like a disbeliever’s open season to call them dreamers. You gotta love that.
They were originally the Heaters and ran into a trademark issue so they became one of my favorite PNW rock bands, the Heats. Keith, Keith Lilly the bass player, and I jam and Keith, if you’re listening…I don’t like your face…kiddin’ bro!